Education: Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury

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Traumatic brain injury is an insult to the brain, not of a degenerative or congenital nature but caused by an external physical force, that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which is an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning.  It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.  These impairment may be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.


Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
  • A traumatic brain injury occurs when an outside force impacts the head hard enough to cause the brain to move within  the skull or if the force causes the skull to break and directly hurt the brain.
  • A dire
  • ct blow to the head can be great enough to injure the brain inside the skull.  A direct force to the head can also break the skull and directly hurt the brain.  This type of injury can occur from motor vehicle crashes, firearms, falls, sports, and physical violence, such as hitting or striking with and object.
  • A rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head can force the brain to move back and forth across the inside of the skull.  The stress from the rapid movements pulls apart nerve fibers and causes damage to brain tissue.  This type of injury often occurs as a result of motor vehicle crashes and physical violence such as Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Brain areas

Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury commonly results in a change in neuronal activity, which effects the physical integrity, the metabolic activity, or the functional activity of the cell.  An acquired brain injury may result in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, speech-language communication, memory, attention and concentration, reasoning, abstract thinking, physical functions, psychosocial behavior, and information processing.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Acquired brain injury takes place at the cellular level within the brain.  Therefore, injury from acquired brain injury can effect cells throughout the entire brain, instead of just in specific areas as with traumatic brain injury.

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain, which is not heredity, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.  An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth.

Causes of acquired brain injury can include but are not limited to:

  • Airway obstruction
  • Near-drowning, throat swelling, choking, strangulation, crush injuries to the chest
  • Electrical shock or lightning strike
  • Trauma to the head and/or neck
  • Traumatic brain injury with or without skull fracture, blood loss from open wounds, artery impingement from forceful impact, shock
  • Vascular Disruption
  • Heart attack, stroke, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), aneurysm, intracranial surgery
  • Infectious disease, intracranial tumors, metabolic disorders
  • Meningitis, certain venereal diseases, AIDS, insect-carried diseases, brain tumors, hypo/hyperglycemia, hepatic encephalopathy, uremic encephalopy, seizure disorders
  • Toxic exposure - poisonous chemicals and gases, such as carbon monoxide poisoning


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